mary_gannon_info_picThe word integration is so prevalent in healthcare it has become a cliché. Google the term “healthcare integration” and you’ll get more than 76 million results! But integration is typically discussed solely within the context of technology. True integration is a coordination of processes or “a bringing together.” I don’t know about you, but when I think of togetherness I think of people. It’s through togetherness that people create and optimize processes and – at that point – use technology to maximize efficiencies.

On October 23rd I’ll be leading the CONNECTIONS 2016 Nursing Summit. Nurses from across the country will hear from speakers about the intersection of nursing and technology, but, more than that, we’ll be sharing experiences, ideas and, yes, challenges we’re facing. Nurses are among the most engaged groups in the care process and the use of technology to improve outcomes. It’s nurses who spend the majority of time inside electronic health records (EHR). It only makes sense that we come together in a roundtable setting to share insights. That’s integration.

You’ll notice I’m using the word “we.” I, too, am a nurse (who happens to be an EHR product manager). Many of my colleagues at Netsmart, including Dr. Dennis Morrison and Dr. Ian Chuang, also have clinical backgrounds. That’s not a coincidence – it’s by design. Our goal is to help improve outcomes, so it’s important to have an immersive understanding of what’s happening on the front lines of care. Likewise, it’s key that those on the front lines of care have a full view of the technological options to optimize care. That’s integration.

I can’t wait for our Nursing Summit at CONNECTIONS 2016. We’ll examine everything from value-based payment models to innovations to the future of care management. But I think the biggest breakthroughs will come from engaging with each other, sharing our successes and struggles face-to-face. Through those transparent discussions we can coordinate processes and come together to improve outcomes. That’s integration.